160

Brooklyn Sax Quartet: Far Side of Here

By

Sign in to view read count
Avant-garde jazz groups can sometimes sound too remote or off-the-wall, even to a hard-core jazz fan. When free jazz musicians play without bass, piano or drums, the music can have a tendency to lose its sense of structure when it comes to harmony and rhythm.

Although the Brooklyn Sax Quartet can be labeled as a free jazz group without a rhythm section, the group plays the "new thing" (as it was called in the early '60s by pioneers like Ornette Coleman) while keeping its feet grounded in traditional modern jazz on Far Side of Here.

Saxophonists David Bindman, Sam Furnace, Fred Ho, and John O'Gallagher play classics from the modern American jazz catalogue, but also draw from the folk music of Africa and the Far East. Whether the BSQ is running down a classic by the Jazz Messengers or reinventing a black spiritual, they have a knack for combinding elements of structure and tradition with abstract improvisation.

BSQ co-founder Fred Ho's composition "Fishing Song of the East China Sea" is a Chinese folk song with a heavy bottom bass end provided by Ho's baritone sax. Ho lays a bass foundation that is often missing from the group, giving BSQ's abstract sound some structure.

Far Side of Here includes a remake of Gillespie's "A Night In Tunisia." Chaotic and free-form like the original, the cover offers blazing solos by tenor saxophonist David Bindman and the late alto saxophonist Sam Furnace. The BSQ's call-and-response techniques on "A Night In Tunisia" are well thought out, providing rich textures of blue notes throughout the song.

"The Black Nation Suite," a cornucopia of spirituals like "O'Fredom" and American folk music like Pete Seeger's "We Shall Overcome," is a gem. All of this piece features organic, blues solos, sounding like the raw emotion of Coltrane's ventures into African music. The rest of the album offers Bindman originals like "Spinning," a circular song that is made up of a number of vamps that creates a musical blanket for the rest of the group to solo on.


Track Listing: Tie Me Sufre; Fishing Song of the East China Sea; I Understand Now; A Night In Tunisia; The Black Nation Suite; O, Freedom; We Shall Overcome; Free New Afrika!Boogaloo; Song for a United Socialist Pan Africa; Lush Life; Spinning; Jajo.

Personnel: David Bindman: tenor saxophone; Fred Ho: baritone saxophone; Sam Furnace: alto saxophone; John O'Gallagher: soprano saxophone.

Title: Far Side of Here | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: OmniTone


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Duo
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 27, 2016
Read "Meditations on Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Meditations on Freedom
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "Speechless" CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "The Authorized Bang Collection" CD/LP/Track Review The Authorized Bang Collection
by Doug Collette
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Standard Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Standard Blue
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "Afro-Caribbean Mixtape" CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.